Free Italian juice!


#Spremutaitalianalibera, free the Italian squeeze! An untapped opportunity for our country can be seized by all players in the national supply chain, from the citrus grove to the glass. Brief reflections and a policy proposal.

Free Italian juice, unexpressed opportunities

In this upside-down Europe

, where northern countries surpass southern ones in levels of adherence to the Mediterranean diet, it is precisely in the North that juicers are most prevalent.


automatic. More or less bulky machinery that the staff of supermarkets, malls, public establishments and offices refill with crates or bags of oranges. Users place a glass, bottle or jug under the nozzle, press a button and get instant squeezing of the



In Italy, the phenomenon is still uncommon, despite a citrus production that stands out in Europe in terms of variety and quantity. All it would take is a modicum of initiative to enhance local cultivars in their respective seasonalities, even in mixes, spread 100% Italian do-it-yourself juices throughout the territory. For the Good of All:

citrus growers, who in some areas already resign themselves to cutting down trees out of desperation to get anything out of them. (1) At least from wood, if not more from fruit,

operators (store and public establishment managers), who can generate value that feeds domestic demand and nourishes the local area with business activity and employment,

– consumers, who can quench their thirst with instantly made juices. Natural vitamins and health as an alternative to diabetes and fatty liver in a can.

The Italian industry

of food processing machinery, first in the world, could in turn develop juicers evolved in performance and functions (e.g., refrigeration), safety (with attention to the risks of


and contamination caused by peels), sustainability and design. By conquering, in the Bel Paese at least, the leadership of the colossus Zummo whose performance of sales in Italy have so far been modest compared to the market’s potential. (2)

Free Italian juice, rules and prospects

The operator who intends to start a do-it-yourself juice-selling service simply needs to register the activity with the relevant ASL (or update the notification if it has already been done for other operations in the food chain). The activity can be described in the terms of ‘preparation of fruit and vegetable products (salads, chopped fruit, fruit salad, juices, etc.) packed at the request of the customer or for the purpose of direct sale‘, with a view to being able to expand the offering where circumstances permit. Develop a self-control plan and implement it thoroughly. (3)

Consumer information is limited, as far as compulsory information is concerned, since precisely this is the direct sale of non-prepacked food. (4) It is therefore sufficient to report the following news:

  • Food name,
  • Ingredient list,
  • Allergenic ingredients,
  • Storage arrangements for rapidly perishable food products,
  • Designation ‘unfrozen’ if and until refrigeration (in conjunction with other natural and sustainable preservation techniques that research may develop) is not sufficient to ensure the suitability of local citrus supplies in the summer season. (5)

Voluntary information can then be extended to include bothnutrition & health claims and the origin and identity of citrus fruits used. To this end, industry best practices may be defined, which should also include guidelines on:

– waste management

of citrus, with a view to the circular economy (guarantee of organic waste collection, with further possible developments).

Free Italian juice, the roles of politics and the supply chain

Minister Gian Marco Centinaio could propose an ‘ad hoc‘ rule to introduce a requirement to indicate the origin of citrus fruits used in freshly squeezed juices. Be they sold in bulk or pre-wrapped (via do-it-yourself juicers), or served by communities (public establishments, hotels, catering) in Italy. This requirement, it should be noted, will not conflict with EU rules since the ‘Food Information Regulation‘ reserves the regulation of consumer information on non-prepacked food and foods served by communities to competing national legislation. (6)

Italian consumAtors, for that matter, are learning to recognize the true value of foods that come from fair and sustainable supply chains. They will then know how to exercise their role as true players- indeed, masters of the market-to bring value and employment back to our agribusiness supply chain. Recognizing the value of Italian citrus fruits, perhaps even a plus for organic ones.

The large-scale retail trade in turn, as it has been able to intervene in protecting Sardinian shepherds, it will be able to do even more for the benefit of us all, from citrus to glass. In the simplest way, by installing do-it-yourself, strictly Italian juicers in their stores.

The success of vending machines can be replicated-even in offices, public and private-with fresh, healthy, authentically local foods. By clarifying the value chain, which must ensure fair compensation for farmers. Without neglecting the opportunity to extend the offer to


of vegetables from the territories, possibly




Dario Dongo


(1) Suffice it to cite the examples of Rosarno and Corigliano Calabro, where farmers are declaring yields at the rock-bottom prices recognized to them, respectively, for oranges (€0.8/kg) and clementines (€0.15/kg)

(2) The Italian site Zummo reports the sale of 11 thousand machines in Italy since 1998, with average consumption of 100 kg of oranges per week by each customer who would serve 30 juices per day

(3) One must essentially consider citrus selection and sorting criteria, machinery cleaning procedures, and suitability of glasses and/or bottles for food contact. Providing for timely recording of material flows and operations conducted according to good hygienic practices and simplified HACCP manual (see article

(4) Pursuant to reg. EU 1169/11, the definition of ‘prepacked foods’, which are subject to a broader set of mandatory information, indeed ‘does not include foods packaged at places of sale at the consumer’s request or prepacked for direct sale’ (Art. 2.2.e)

(5) Sicilian citrus growers have already started selling oranges to China, transporting them by ship in refrigerated containers that ensure they retain their organoleptic properties for more than 40 days. Given that the last blond orange harvests take place in May and the first in September, the prospect of avoiding freezing to cover a period of 2-3 months does not seem so far off. On the other hand, the oranges used in Italy today for summer juicing come from distant continents

(6) See reg. EU 1169/11, Article 44. The incumbent government will only have to take care to notify the European Commission of the draft measure and comply with the so-called. standstill period, as required by Directive 2015/1535/EU. Avoiding repeating the abuses already committed by the government led by Paolo Gentiloni. See previous articles,,